Tag Archives: technology levy
112

District 112 decides not to pursue referendums in November

This week’s edition of the Chaska Herald chronicles the decision of the Eastern Carver County School District not to place a referendum on the November ballot.

There was the potential for two questions to appear on the ballot.  The first was a renewal of existing operating levies that expire at the end of the 2013-14 school year.  These levies, which represent nearly 10% of the district’s annual operating budget, will certainly be placed on the ballot next year.  The District is still trying to determine whether or not to ask for what they call a “cost of living adjustment” on the operating levy, slightly increasing the per-pupil amount to adjust for inflation over the 10-year life of the levy.

The second potential question was a technology levy.  Last fall, voters rejected a $2 million annual package designed to upgrade the district’s technology infrastructure, replace aging equipment, and implement new technology-based learning programs.  For several months, District administration and the School Board have been kicking around two versions of a new technology plan — one costing $5 million annually and one costing $2 million annually — which they would seek funds via referendum to fund.  The Herald story on the discussion surrounding putting this issue on the ballot revealed two encouraging points.

1. ) The District takes seriously the amount of educating that needs to be done if a technology bond issue is going to pass.

Despite the good efforts of the Vote Yes! committee, the District didn’t give them a great hand to work with.  The District was slow to make available information that was easy for voters to digest.  That delay in getting information out allowed referendum opponents to frame the debate in their terms and left the District administration and committee to answer for decisions made years earlier.

The other thing that’s important to realize here is that it important to have a real discussion of how technology enhances learning.  The generation who are parents now didn’t grow up (by and large) with schools wired to the internet, electronic whiteboards, or tablet computers.  Parents today have also likely seen technology projects  in their work or personal lives that were supposed to deliver great result that just ended up being sorta “cool” but not making any real impact.

The idea that the District is going to put together demonstration labs of this new technology is encouraging.  First, it will give District personnel real-time opportunities to try these technologies out and see in fact how they impact student learning.  Second, it will give them the ability to demonstrate this impact to voters in the District so they can see how it improves the classroom experience.

2.) The District is reconsidering the idea of providing devices to all students at a certain grade level.

This is a real point of contention with many parents in the District, and not just ones who are politically predisposed to be against any sort of tax increase.  Parents are uncomfortable with this on many levels, and in my opinion, this just isn’t the time to go down this route.

The District should instead focus on making it easier for students to use their own devices in the school environment as well as increasing availability of devices for students who don’t have computer resources at home — whether it is expanded computer lab hours after school or on weekends or lending out devices to students as needed for projects.

One other key takeaway from the article:  We see again in this story the struggles that our school districts are going through in dealing with legislative uncertainty.  If we want our school districts to be good stewards of taxpayer money, then legislators in St. Paul and the Governor need to stop using K-12 education as their piggy bank when the state budget needs to be balanced.

certainty

Why did the District 112 Technology Referendum fail?

For the first time since 1995, voters in the Eastern Carver County School District have defeated a referendum put forward by the School Board and Administration.  Let’s dig in and try to figure out the key factors that led to the defeat of the referendum.

We’ll get the easy one out of the way first — the economy is lousy right now and this is a really bad time to be advocating for a tax increase.  No further elaboration is required here.  If you look at school referendums around the state, requests to renew existing levies did very well, while requests for additional funding fared much worse.  Of the seven metro area technology referendums asking for new or increased amounts, four passed (Anoka-Hennepin, Edina, Mahtomedi, and Spring Lake Park) while three (District 112, Inver Grove Heights, and Stillwater) failed.

A second critical factor in the defeat of the referendum was the failure of the district to provide critical supporting information to voters.  It took the District a couple of weeks after the School Board approved the referendum to get basic information on the District’s website.  Detailed information showing specifically how the money would be spent came far too late in the process.  Certainly, this information must have been available at the time the School Board was considering whether or not to put the referendum on the ballot.

Additionally, the district failed to articulate some of the complexities of school financing.  That left the district in being forced to defensively respond to things like John Brunette’s letter to the editor as opposed to proactively explaining the factors that go into our school property taxes.  After digging into the information and requesting data from the district, I felt there was a compelling case in favor of the referendum.  But I can understand how some voters didn’t get the message.

The district clearly also needs to address that there is a substantial portion of the community that have real issues with some previous decisions that were made and wants to see substantive changes.  They do not trust the district to make decisions in their families’ best interest.  I’ve tried to point out, both here and at the Chaska Herald website, that the decision-makers who made those controversial decisions aren’t around any more, and it’s not entirely fair to blame the new Board (recall, that a majority of the Board was replaced just one year ago) and the new Superintendent for those decisions.

Nonetheless, this is a problem that needs to be dealt with.  Most prominently among these issues are the real and perceived inequities between the two high schools.  Voter turnout in Chaska was 20%, versus Chanhassen’s 13%.  There’s clearly a reason for that.  Anecdotally, there were a significant number of Chaska parents who indicated their “no” vote was designed to send a message to the district regarding these issues.  Similarly, there were a number of Chaska parents energized to go to the polls to try and get funding to help close these gaps.

Another element is the perception (related to the above issue) that Chanhassen High School was either not needed and/or too luxurious.  As for the “not needed” part, the numbers don’t lie there.

Between Chaska High School, Pioneer Ridge, and the two middle schools, secondary school capacity in the district was simply not sufficient.  Perhaps the district could have limped along for a couple more years, but there was no way around adding more capacity.  Lower grade levels show that increased enrollment is coming, and as the economy gets back on track, additional growth in the western part of the district will have the two high schools operating at higher capacities in a few years.

As for whether or not Chanhassen High School was built too expensively, opinions can differ on that.  Recall, though, that voters approved the $92 million price-tag for that facility.  It was not forced on to the taxpayers of the district by the School Board or the administration.

And regardless of your opinion on any of these issues, I would argue that it’s not productive to go back and re-litigate them.  Sending a message by voting “no” on a referendum may make you feel good, but it doesn’t solve the problems the district faces.

There are other ways to hold school districts accountable other than just voting “no”.  We can get engaged in the yearly budget process.  We can get involved in our children’s classrooms.  We can attend school board meetings and have discussions with the administration on critical issues.

Where do we go from here?  How should the district respond to the challenges that lie ahead from a budget perspective — and more importantly, from a trust perspective?  I’ve got some ideas, and I’ll be sharing them over the next few weeks.

081388-glossy-space-icon-business-thumbs-down

District 112 Technology Referendum fails

Voters in District 112 rejected the technology referendum by 216 votes.  3,158 voters (51.8%) voted no, while 2,942 (48.2%) voted yes.  More on this later.

voteyes

It’s time to Vote Yes!

It is Election Day today — time to Vote Yes! in District 112.  Here are the polling locations, polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling Places

  • Residents of Carver: East Union Elementary School, 15655 County Road 43, Carver
  • Residents of Chaska/Chaska Township: Chaska Middle School West, 140 Engler Blvd. Chaska
  • Residents of Chanhassen:Chanhassen Recreation Center, 2310 Coulter Blvd., Chanhassen
  • Residents of Victoria/Laketown Township: Victoria City Hall, 7951 Rose, Victoria
For our complete coverage of the technology levy, click here.
levyperpupil

Looking at the history of voter-approved school levies in District 112

As we move towards the vote on the Eastern Carver County School District Technology Levy on Tuesday, November 8, there’s been a lot of discussion about the relative positioning of the district versus similar districts.  While on an operating basis, the district is one of the lowest-spending districts, the overall tax burden in the district is high because of the school construction that has occurred in recent years.

So let’s look at the different voter-approved referendum components that feed into our property tax lines.  There are essentially two kinds of referendums:  operating referendums and debt service referendums.  Operating referendums raise a per-pupil amount per year that is applied to the district’s general fund.  Debt service referendums are used for facilities (land acquisition, construction, and expansion), capital projects (technology), or funding of actuarial liabilities (such as pensions).  These referendums raise a specified dollar amount over their life.  For instance, the bonds used to build Chanhassen High School will raise $92 million over 22 years.

The technology referendum is a debt service referendum designed to raise $1.98 million per year for 10 years (or $19.8 million).

Current voter approved referendums in the District total about $31 million in the current fiscal year, with about $19 million going to debt service, and the remainder to operating referendums ($1,085 per pupil).  There are nine separate components that make up this $31 million.  They are:

Type

Expiration

Description

Debt Service

2014

facility construction (Chaska H.S.)

Operating

2014

$762 per pupil

Debt Service

2017

funding of post-retirement liabilities

Operating

2017

$323 per pupil; passed as part of Chanhassen H.S. referendum

Debt Service

2019

facility construction and expansion

Debt Service

2020

facility construction (Pioneer Ridge M.S. and Clover Ridge E.S.)

Debt Service

2021

facility construction (Pioneer Ridge M.S. and Clover Ridge E.S.)

Debt Service

2025

facility construction (Victoria E.S.) and expansion (Chaska H.S.)

Debt Service

2029

facility construction (Chanhassen H.S.)

The important thing to remember when looking at the debt service referendums is that — for the most part — the amounts collected in taxes every year to support those referendums is static.  That means that as population grows (and if property values increase), the impact of those referendums on a typical household decline over time.

Additionally, the debt service referendums drop off over time.  That is why districts that have completed their growth cycle, like Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, are seeing their overall tax levels be at lower levels than District 112 even though their voter-approved operating levies are higher.  (Minnetonka has a voter-approved operating levy $800  per pupil higher than District 112.)

Let’s look at a couple of graphs that show how these trends may impact District 112 going forward.  For these graphs, a few assumptions were made:  first, district enrollment will continue to increase at the average rate it has grown the last five years (1.3%).  Second, the current operating levies will be renewed by voters at their current levels.  Third, the technology referendum passes.  Finally, no new schools are built.  (This is a significant assumption — growth at this level will likely require the construction of an additional elementary school at some point in the decade. However, I am unable to reliably pinpoint when the school would be needed and how much it would cost.)

Here’s a graph that shows the total dollar amounts we can expect going out for the next decade:

As you can see, debt service becomes smaller and smaller over time — 30% smaller over the course of the decade.  At the end of the decade, voter-approved levy dollars will only be up by a little over 6% even though enrollment will have increased by 13%.

Let’s show that impact a little more clearly by looking at the data on a per pupil basis:

On a per-pupil basis — even with passing the technology referendum, voter-approved referendums will be below current levels in four years and will be over $600 per pupil less than today in a decade.

So, yes, this is a somewhat painful time to be a taxpayer in the school district.  But as the district approaches peak enrollment, relief will be on the way as the debt service begins to fall off.

Let’s keep our eyes on the district’s objectives — preparing students for college and employment — and not allow these transitory funding trends to cause students to miss out on critical learning opportunities.

Check out our complete coverage of the technology levy.

voteyes

Wrong on the referendum: breaking down the Herald/Villager editorial

The Chaska Herald and the Chanhassen Villager issued an editorial last week urging a “no” vote on the District 112 Technology Referendum.  While I can understand that reasonable people can disagree on the merits of the referendum, there are a couple of points in the editorial that deserve further discussion.

First, the editorial uses some aggressive language towards the referendum that frankly isn’t warranted.  This referendum isn’t a “money grab”, nor is it a “perpetual a la carte funding source”. (This phrase, of course, is just plain factually incorrect.  The levy goes for 10 years and would have to be re-approved by voters at that time.)  This is about the district having a stable funding source for needed technology upgrades over the next decade.

Why is stable funding important?  Because decisions in St. Paul have caused real damage to the district’s budget.  The last two budgets passed have taken $10.6 million out of the district’s budget over a four-year period.  That’s 40% more per year than this referendum will generate.

Both of the K-12 funding shifts have been supported universally by Carver County’s legislative delegation and signed off by two different governors.  (Although the delegation voted against the first shift for partisan reasons when it was ratified by the legislature in 2010, Sen. Julianne Ortman, Rep. Paul Kohls, and Rep. Joe Hoppe all supported the shift when Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced it as part of his unallotment package in 2009.  This year, Ortman, Hoppe, and Rep. Ernie Leidiger all voted in favor of the second shift.)

Where is the voice of the Herald and Villager holding our legislative delegation and Govs. Pawlenty and Mark Dayton accountable for the damage they are doing to school budgets?

The notion that such strong language is reserved for district leadership now is somewhat strange as well.  This new administration team has proven themselves to be straight-shooters (whether or not you agree with their conclusions) and they haven’t had any of the foibles of the previous leadership team — namely a leadership style that was frequently divisive and some really costly accounting errors.

Perhaps the current administration’s less political approach to their job is a disadvantage when trying to pass a referendum, but I think we’re seeing better management of the day-to-day fundamentals.  And, that’s what is really important.  For example, note that the current administration was able to negotiate a new contract with the District’s teachers that is fiscally responsible without the long, contentious battle that occurred two years ago under the previous leadership.

Secondly, the Herald and Villager are trying to have it both ways in their criticism of the district.  On one hand, the district is criticized for trying to pass a referendum in these difficult economic times.  Then, the Herald and Villager complain that the referendum isn’t large enough to fund the entire technology plan.   Well, you can’t have it both ways.   The referendum is not about getting every item on the wishlist, but rather focused on making sure the most critical items are funded.

Look beyond the fuzzy logic of the Herald and Villager and look at the fundamentals.  The district has been responsible in its handling of the budget.  There are real funding gaps that are preventing necessary improvements in our schools.  This referendum is a responsible response to the challenges the district faces, sized to allow for needed upgrades and enhancements without unduly burdening the community.

I urge you to Vote Yes! on November 8.

112 per pupil funding

Rebutting arguments made against the technology referendum

This week’s Chaska Herald featured some letters and commentary against the Eastern Carver County Schools Technology Referendum.  Let me rebut some arguments and set some facts straight.

There was a letter to the editor by John Brunette that indicated that District 112 had higher per-pupil expenditures than most other neighboring districts.  Brunette’s data is incorrect.  Per the Minnesota Department of Education, District 112 is one of the lowest spending school districts of its type.  Check out the graph below, which shows the actual per pupil funding for the last three years, plus the projected funding for next year if the referendum passes, for like school districts (suburban school districts with +/- 1,500 students).

More importantly, I’d like to address the argument made by Kristi Jackson about voting “no” to enact change.  Jackson argues that she can’t support the referendum because of the inequities between Chanhassen High School and Chaska High School.  Let’s talk about those inequities and why voting “no” would be precisely the wrong response.

Certainly, as Jackson suggests, Chanhassen High has newer facilities and more advanced technology.  That comes with the Chanhassen High being in its third year of operation, while the current Chaska High School building is now 15 years old.

And, yes, enrollment between the two schools has become somewhat unbalanced.  Why is that?  Two primary reasons — first, the boundaries were drawn before the collapse of the housing market.  Had the housing market stayed afloat, Chaska Township would be undergoing significant residential construction.  The second factor is that parents are taking advantage of open enrollment to have their children go a short distance down the road to a newer facility.

Yes, math scores are unbalanced between the two high schools as well, as has been previously discussed here.  Those variances can be explained largely by the demographic differences between the schools.

Jackson advocates that the District abandon the community-based boundary system currently in place.  While this is a topic that many will have strong feelings about, I tend to agree with the District’s position that we need to give it a couple of more years to shake out.  Constant transition of school boundaries isn’t good for the District, either, and we need to be very solid on the rationale for doing so before we undertake such changes.  (Living here since 2003, we’ve been assigned to three different elementary schools over that period of time.  I’m glad that my daughters were young enough to avoid having to make those transitions.)

As a parent of children who will attend Chaska High School when they get older, I certainly understand Jackson’s concerns.  But voting “no” is exactly the wrong thing to do.  Voting “no” is only going to make it harder for the District to address the technology, facilities, and performance gap between Chanhassen High School and Chaska High School.

Currently, all the schools in the District are fighting over small amounts of capital improvement dollars.  Allowing technology funding to be supported by this levy will increase the pool of money available to upgrade all aspects of the Chaska High facility.  The district has just posted a school-by-school list of projects in the first two years of technology referendum funding, and Chaska High School is the largest recipient of that funding.

Much of the technology funding will also go to programs specifically designed to address STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subject areas.  These programs will only help Chaska High students perform at a higher level over the coming years.

Finally, we need to remember that changing the boundary lines to equalize the demographic makeup of the two schools doesn’t fundamentally do anything to solve the problem — it just moves it around.  While it may look better (and may make some people feel better) to have two schools at 60% proficiency instead of one school at 50% and one school at 70%, we’ve still got 40% of students who aren’t passing the test.  Regardless of where these students are going to school, the District has to find a way to reach them.

It’s understandable that parents are frustrated about some things.  I certainly haven’t agreed with every decision that has been made over the years.  But voting “no” to send a message isn’t going to help students.  There are ways to send a message to the School Board and administration without harming the very goals you are trying to pursue.

Vote “yes”, and give the District the resources it needs to address these issues and then let’s hold them accountable for achieving results.

voteyes

About the Technology Referendum, Part 2: What will it do, and why you should Vote Yes!

In the last post about the Technology Referendum, we looked at the District’s financial situation.  Now, let’s look at what is being proposed as the use for these funds and why I think you should Vote Yes! on November 8.

How the Funding Will Be Used

Currently, the District funds technology out of its general capital budget.  About $1 million per year (or roughly half the general capital budget) goes to technology.  And while $1 million is a lot of money, it only represents about one-fourth of what the District feels represents the true technology needs in the district.  In fact, of that $1 million in technology investment per year, most of it goes to software licensing.  There’s no annual capital plan for replacement of computers, or upgrading the network, or providing new capabilities on the district’s website.

The District is just now starting to get out some more specific information on how the funds will be used.  Over the past couple of weeks, I have had conversations with District officials in an attempt to put some detail behind some of these requests.

One of the most important things that would come out of the referendum would be a regular replacement cycle for the district’s computers.  Currently, some of the computer labs in the District have computers that are over 10 years old.  The range of applications that can be used with such computers is limited.  Additionally, the effort to maintain a network with computers that may be ranging in age by as much as 12 years creates significant challenges and additional expense.   The referendum would allow the district to move to a four- or five-year replacement cycle for computers used in student computer labs and by teachers in the classroom.

The number of computers available to students will also be increased.  Currently, there aren’t enough devices to meet the needs of students.  This is a particularly acute issue at standardized testing time.  As many of the standardized tests taken by our students have moved to computers instead of number 2 pencils and bubble sheets, other students are squeezed out of the computer labs.  For instance, my kindergartner didn’t get to visit the computer lab at any point in the first three weeks of school this year because of testing.  The use of tablet computers (such as iPads) will also help with this issue, as schools will be able to have mobile computer labs that can be brought to classrooms.  There will never be a point where the student to computer ratio will be 1:1, though.  This referendum is not about buying laptops or iPads and just giving them to the students.

Another major benefit that will come out the referendum is expanded and improved course content.  This will be most noticeable at the high school and middle school levels, where students will be able to take expanded college-level courses and participate in specialized STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs.  Project Lead The Way is an example of such curriculum — the District, though, is struggling to keep its computers up to the specifications of program.  But even elementary school students will see the benefits, as increasingly, classroom materials are going multimedia instead of on paper.  Another program that could have great benefit are innovation grants that will be made available to teachers in the District who develop new and exciting ways to improve student performance using technology.

The final key component is updates to the technology infrastructure.  This consists of many things, including improving support for student-owned devices.  So if your student has a laptop or a tablet, they will be able to get access to school resources and use them on their own devices.  Another set of important tools include interactive whiteboards (so-called “SmartBoards”) and classroom responding devices.  These tools make the classroom experience more interactive and allow the teachers to gauge student comprehension in real-time and without embarrassing students too shy to ask questions in front of the whole class.

Now, all of this doesn’t mean that technology is inherently better.  I’m sure we have experienced cases in our work or personal life where new technology has been introduced and it’s proven to in fact make things worse than they were before.

It is still incumbent on the teachers and other professionals of the District to make sure that this is not technology for the sake of technology, but rather that it is used effectively to make a difference in our children’s education.  And it the responsibility of the School Board, parents, and citizens to hold the District accountable for achieving results.

Vote Yes!

I do think that the District has made the case to pass this referendum, even in this difficult economic environment.

Let me recap the reasons I think that residents of District 112 should Vote Yes! on November 8:

  1. The District has responsibly handled the budget challenges of recent years:  Faced with two significant cuts in state aid, the District has responded appropriately.  They have made several rounds of budget cuts, and negotiated a tough, but fair contract with the District’s teachers.  Meanwhile, the District has continued to produce solid results on the various state tests, and there has been some improvement made in critical areas like the performance in math scores at Chaska High School.
  2. The world has changed, and we need to reach children where they are:  This is admittedly an intangible point.  The way we interact with the world has changed dramatically over the last 20 years.  As a senior in college, I remember installing Netscape 1.0 on my IBM computer with its “state-of-the-art” 9600 baud modem.  It took minutes to download a couple of e-mails.  My kindergartner doesn’t know of a world where high-speed internet didn’t exist.  Anybody who questions that children today aren’t accustomed to technology in ways that their parents aren’t has never played John Madden football on the Wii against a second-grader.  Part of making education relevant is presenting it in ways that resonate with students in their lives.  Children today are used to getting their information via technology, and part of their school day needs to reflect that (not to mention the fact that their work life will largely be ruled by the use of technology as well).
  3. The District has a plan for the use of these funds that is responsible and will provide benefit to students:  I do believe the District has a plan for the use of these funds that makes sense.  The goals of the referendum and the spending plan that the District has indicated make sense, for the reasons noted above.

I encourage you to do the following between now and November 8:

Polling Places
  • Residents of Carver: East Union Elementary School, 15655 County Road 43, Carver
  • Residents of Chaska/Chaska Township: Chaska Middle School West, 140 Engler Blvd. Chaska
  • Residents of Chanhassen:Chanhassen Recreation Center, 2310 Coulter Blvd., Chanhassen
  • Residents of Victoria/Laketown Township: Victoria City Hall, 7951 Rose, Victoria
112

About the Technology Referendum, Part 1: Looking at District Finances

On November 8, voters in the Eastern Carver County School District will be heading to the polls to vote on the Technology Bond Referendum.  The referendum would raise taxes on the median house in the District ($240,000) by $84 per year.

Any time a tax increase is on the docket, an examination of the District’s finances are in order.  So let’s have a look at what’s been going on in the District over recent years.

School Finance Basics

There are two primary sources of revenue for a school district — state funding and locally approved property tax referendums.  State funding consists of a basic per-pupil formula and several categories of specialized funding which the a particular district may or may not be eligible for.  For instance, rural districts that are large geographically but sparsely populated get additional funding to assist with the logistical problems inherent with such a scenario.

State funding for a particular year is actually broken out over two years.  Most of the payment is made at the beginning of the state’s fiscal year (July 1) based on projected enrollment.  The rest of the payment is made the following year, with a true-up to reflect the actual enrollment for the previous year.  In each of the last two budgeting cycles, the state legislature has made changes in this formula (more on this later).

Locally approved property tax referendums fall into two categories — operating funds (also called “excess” or “levy”) and bond referendums (for capital technology investment or land/buildings).

Revenue raised from bond referendums cannot be used to pay for ongoing operations of a district.  For instance, voters approved a $92 million referendum to construct Chanhassen High School.  Per state law, the District could not have taken all or part of that revenue and applied it to ongoing operations after it became apparent that the recession was going to have a significant impact on growth projections.

Funding Changes

The main issue the District has had to deal with over the last few years has been the changes in the split of state funding from year to year.  Prior to the 2009-10 school year, 90% of the school payment was made in year 1, and 10% in year 2.  This was changed for 2009-10, with the ratio being changed from 90% to 70%.  This change took a net $7 million out of the District’s accounts (there were some other finance changes as well).  In the last state budget cycle, the ratio was changed again, from 70% to 60%.  Over the next two school years, this change (combined with other changes also passed by the Legislature) will result in an additional $3.6 million being taken out of the District’s finances.

The operational referendums for the District remain in place as approved by voters.  The District currently has no Technology Bond in place.

Teacher Pay

Salaries for teachers are determined by two main concepts — “steps” and “lanes”.  “Steps” represent pay levels determined by seniority.  “Lanes” represent pay levels determined by education.  A combination of steps and lanes, then, determine a teacher’s salary.  For instance, a teacher with five years of seniority and a masters degree would earn more than a teacher with five years of seniority and a bachelors degree.

The steps and lanes chart for the current most recent ratified contact can be found here.  As you may recall, the most recent agreement was a difficult negotiation.  In fact, the District and the teachers union failed to reach an agreement by the January 15, 2010 deadline, costing the District $220,000 in fines.  The final agreement included a one-year freeze on “step” increases, which limited the average increase to about 1.5% per year.

Budget Cuts

In response to these challenges, the District has made substantial budgets cuts in recent years.  In 2009, the District cut $1.7 million from the budget, followed by another $1 million in cuts in 2010, and another $2.4 million in  cuts approved this year.

These cuts have had real world impacts on students in the District — larger class sizes, sharply increased fees for extracurricular activities among them.  Teachers and administration have seen their positions eliminated.

It’s been a challenging environment, to be sure.  The cuts have also impacted the District’s ability to invest in other things — including technology.

In Part 2, we’ll look at the current state of technology in the District as well as how the District plans on using the money that would be raised if the referendum were passed.  And, I’ll let you know how I intend to vote.

Coming soon to a ballot near you: District 112 Technology referendum

The Eastern Carver County School Board approved placing a $1.9 million annual technology levy on the ballot in November.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the measure.  More on this to come before the election.

District 112 joins several other area districts with levy questions going before voters this fall, including  Delano, Eden Prairie, Edina, Richfield, Watertown-Mayer, and Westonka.  The Waconia School Board will vote next week on a proposal to put plans for a new elementary school on the ballot.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 399 other followers

%d bloggers like this: